Across the globe, new life in the form of a new baby gladdens the hearts of families. This wonderful child who holds such potential is a reason for joy. Unfortunately, for many, this experience is darkened by a depression that strikes the new mother or father and wreaks havoc on the family. Postpartum depression can affect both men and women. Generally, it is the woman who experiences the depression but fathers also can experience stress during the time following the birth due to all the changes entering the couple’s lives. Whether it strikes the father or the mother, it is important that the family and significant other individuals recognize the warning signs of postpartum depression.
Many women do experience the baby blues for about two weeks following the birth. It is when this period is prolonged and the parent feels sad and unhappy most of the time, gets exhausted easily and loses interest and enjoyment in everything – including the baby – that the flags are raised. It is important that help is found for the parent, including therapy and medication, if needed.
Postpartum psychosis is even more serious. If this condition is present, the baby as well as the parent experiencing the depression can be in grave danger. The person might become extremely withdrawn and inactive or on the flip side become aggressive and hyperactive. Since there is a danger of harm to the baby and the parent, professional help should be sought immediately.
Parents can overcome postpartum challenges through emotional support and timely professional intervention. A happy outcome can result when those around the depressed person pick up on the signs of trouble and offer help. New life can then be celebrated by all.